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Korean born American health expert Jim Yong Kim on Monday emerged the
new World Bank president defeating Africa’s sole candidate, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-
Iweala of Nigeria.
Kim, 52, according to Reuters won the plum job with the support of the United
States of America and her European allies, Japan among others, who voted
massively for him.
Unlike previous World Bank elections, the decision was not unanimous. "The
final nominees received support from different member countries, which reflected
the high caliber of the candidates," the Bank said in announcing its board's
Kim, president of Dartmouth College, will assume his new post on July 1 after
the Bank's current president, Robert Zoellick, steps down.
The United States has held the presidency since the World Bank's founding
after World War Two, while a European has always led its sister institution, the
International Monetary Fund.
Unlike previous heads of the World Bank, Kim is not a politician, a banker or
diplomat. He is a trained physician and anthropologist who has worked to bring
health care to the poor in developing countries, whether fighting tuberculosis in
Haiti andPeru or tackling HIV/AIDS in Russian prisons.
There had been a three-way contest for the presidency of the poverty-fighting
institution until Friday when former Colombianfinance minister Jose Antonio
Ocampo withdrew. He said the process, which was meant to be based solely
on credentials, had become highly political.
South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan welcomed the fact that non-
Americans competed for the post for the first time, but also said there were
concerns the process was not fully merit-based.
"I think we are going to find that the process falls short of that," Gordhan told
the Foreign Correspondent's Association in South Africa, adding that there were
also "serious concerns" the decision was made without full transparency.
Following the announcement of Dr. Jim Yong Kim as World Bank President, Dr
Okojo-Iweala congratulated him promising to work with the new president.
“With regard to the selection process, it is clear to me that we need to make it
more open, transparent and merit-based. We need to make sure that we do not
contribute to a democratic deficit in global governance.” Dr Okojo-Iweala
“Nevertheless, by our participation we have won important victories. We have
shown what is possible. Our credible and merit-based challenge to a long-
standing and unfair tradition will ensure that the process of choosing a World
Bank president will never be the same again. The struggle for greater equity and
fairness has reached a critical point and the hands of the clock cannot be
“I congratulate Dr Jose Antonio Ocampo for being a worthy participant and for
his decision to withdraw his candidacy in my favour.
“I am proud of Africa for displaying great unity in supporting my candidacy. I am
proud of my country Nigeria for standing by me. I want to thank all the African
leaders, but particularly President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for his resolute
support, along with other leaders – President Boni Yayi of Benin Republic,
President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’iVoire, President Jacob Zuma of South
Africa and Chair of the African Union, Mr Jean Ping. Africa has stood for the
right principles throughout these processes. I am proud to be African.
“I want to thank other developing countries who supported my candidacy. I
also thank the Nigerian public, the National Assembly and the Nigerian and
international media for their analyses and support. I am deeply grateful to the
numerous groups and individuals in different parts of the world that worked so
hard and so passionately in my support.
“It was a worthwhile battle. Now it is time to move on and contribute to the
search for solutions to the many developmental challenges that confront the
Kim defeats Okonjo-Iweala to emerge World
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-Editor, African Examiner
Monday, April 16, 2012
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